In Our Community

First County Bank Announces Recent Winners of FirstPrize $avings Account Drawing

We are excited to announce that the winners of the FirstPrize $avings $1,000 drawing was Marie and Kamisha Byas of Stamford, CT who had a joint account. FirstPrize $avings is an innovative basic savings account with a cash prize drawing component to promote personal savings. With each eligible deposit of $25 or more, the account holder earns an entry into a drawing for a $1,000 prize. The drawing occurs four times per calendar year.

Use for PR

“We have plans for this money. Kamisha and I agreed it would be a down payment for my car,” said Marie. Photographed are Jennifer Garcia, Assistant Branch Manager of the First County Bank Prospect Street Branch, Kamisha and Marie Byas, and Robert Granata, COO and President of First County Bank.

“I’m thrilled to present Marie and Kamisha with $1,000 for winning the Bank’s FirstPrize $avings account drawing,” said Robert Granata, COO and president of First County Bank.  “First County Bank developed the new product in order to provide a cash prize incentive to encourage people to save, while making saving money exciting.”

Responding to the overwhelming need for consumers to increase their savings, First County Bank designed the FirstPrize $avings account to inspire those over the age of 18 to save by encouraging frequent and consistent deposits. This behavior reinforces the habit of saving with the fun of earning chances for a cash prize. With each eligible deposit of $25 or greater into this savings account, account holders can automatically earn chances to win $1,000. Account holders can earn up to ten chances per month and up to 30 chances per three month drawing period. A winner is selected in a random drawing held four times per year. Account details, rules and regulations are posted on the First County Bank savings account website https://firstcountybank.com/firstprize-savings.

In Our Community

Bank Employees Donate $1,500 to The Undies Project

The last Friday of every month is a special Jeans Day for First County Bank employees. Employees donate $10 for the opportunity to wear jeans to work, which is collected by the Bank’s Jeans Day Fund. On a quarterly basis, participating employees vote to determine which organization in Fairfield County receives the employee donation.

“The Undies Project was selected to help those affected by personal hardships. We are proud of our employees helping others through The Undies Project,” said Rey Giallongo, Chairman and CEO of First County Bank. The Undies Project was set up in November 2015 by Lucy Langley and Laura Delaflor to provide new underwear to men, women and children to improve their lives, and is a registered 501(c)(3) charity based in Cos Cob, CT.

The Undies Project - Group - Donation

From left to right: AnnaMaria Pace, Branch Manager, First County Bank; Virginia Cheney, Board member; The Undies Project; Reyno Giallongo, Jr., Chairman and CEO, First County Bank; Lucy Langley, Co-president, The Undies Project; Laura Delaflor , Co-president, The Undies Project; Mamie Lee , Board member of The Undies Project; Robert Granata, President and COO, First County Bank.

If you would like to learn more about The Undies Project or support their mission, click here or visit: www.theundiesproject.org.

Trends & Tips

How to Talk to Your Kids About Money

talktokidsaboutmoney-iconHow soon is too soon to talk to your kids or grandkids about money? If they are old enough to ask for a toy or a bike, they are old enough to start learning financial lessons that will last a lifetime.

The best financial lessons are part of everyday experience. Look for opportunities to talk about money, read books aloud and play games that center around spending money wisely. Be open and honest when you discuss your financial experiences—good or bad.

Here are some examples of teachable moments to help you get started:

  • At the bank. When you go to the bank, bring your children with you and show them how transactions work. Get the manager to explain how the bank operates, how money generates interest and how an ATM works. Ask the manager for a tour—be sure to ask to see the vault.
  • On payday. Discuss how your pay is budgeted to pay for housing, food and clothing, and how a portion is saved for future expenses such as college tuition and retirement.
  • At the market. It’s easy to give clear examples of “needs” and “wants” using different kinds of foods at a grocery store. Milk (for strong bones) is a need; soft drinks are a want. Explain the benefits of comparison shopping, coupons and store brands.
  • Chores and allowances. Assign chores and give them a monetary value. Discuss ways to budget and divide allowances. Encourage children to set a financial goal, such as saving for a bike, and figure out how to achieve it.
  • Paying bills. Explain the many ways that bills can be paid: over the phone, paper or by check, electronic check or online check draft. Discuss how each method of bill pay takes money out of your account. Be sure to cover late penalties, emphasizing the importance of paying bills on time.
  • Using credit cards. Explain that credit cards are a loan and need to be repaid. Share how each month a credit card statement comes in the mail with a bill. Go over the features of different types of cards, such as ATM, debit and credit cards.
  • Browsing the Internet. While online, explain to your children how valuable their personal information and privacy is to you, to them and to online predators. Discuss the risks and benefits of sharing certain information. Then, as a family, make a list of rules for keeping personal information safe online.
  • Planning a vacation. Whether you are planning an outing to a local amusement park or a once-in-a-lifetime trip, emphasize the value of saving as a family. Set a family savings goal that involves your children. Figure out the cost and discuss ways everyone can help to reach the goal.

Always encourage your children to ask questions about money. If you don’t know the answer, research it together or ask your banker.

 

First County Bank Profile

#FrontlineFridays: Meet Shaun Intriago

webIn this first edition of #FrontlineFridays meet Shaun Intriago. He is a Customer Service Representative at the First County Bank Summer St. Branch located at 2950 Summer Street.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I have been with First County Bank for 4 years.  Along with being a member of the First County Bank Financial Literacy Program, I am also a First County Bank Wellness Ambassador and I coach the First County Bank Softball Team.

In my spare time, I enjoy participating in run/walk events to help raise money for different charities and I have contributed to many organizations such as CancerCare, The Stamford Public Education Foundation, and P.A.W.S (pet animal welfare society) just to name a few.​  I also enjoy eating and I am a die-hard football fan.

What is your favorite part of your role at First County Bank?
My favorite part of my role at First County Bank is the interaction with customers.  Customers frequently tell us that they switched to First County Bank because, unlike other banks, we treat our customers like people and not just a number.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?
The most frequent question I get from customers is, “Donde esta Camilo?”

What is your favorite thing to do during the fall?
My favorite things to do during the fall are playing golf (mini-golf to be exact) and tailgating.

What is your favorite First County Bank moment?
My favorite First County Bank moment is when I can make a customer leave the bank happier than they were when they came in.

Lifestyle Trends & Tips

First County Bank Goes Teal for Ovarian Cancer Awareness

September is Ovarian Cancer awareness month and to help raise awareness of the disease, as well as the benefits of early detection, the First County Bank team wore teal!


For more information about Ovarian Cancer visit the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

First County Bank Foundation, In Our Community

Proud to Support Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens, Kids in Crisis, SilverSource, and YWCA Greenwich

In big and small ways we’ve been making a difference in your community through our Foundation’s philanthropic efforts.

Pictured:

Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens – $5,000
“The mission of the Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens is to provide a sanctuary to explore, enjoy, and learn about the habitats of the natural world.” Pictured (Left to Right): Patricia Sweeney, VP, Portfolio Manager, First County Bank; Andrea Chusid, Director of Development, Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens; Jane Von Trapp, CEO, Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens.

Kids in Crisis – $10,000
“Founded in 1978, Kids in Crisis provides free, round-the-clock help for Fairfield County, Connecticut children, teens and parents of all socio-economic levels dealing with any type of crisis, including abuse, neglect, family conflict and more.” Pictured (Left to Right): Jagjiwan Singh, AVP, Business Development Officer, First County Bank; Jeff Robinson, AVP, Branch Manager Greenwich, First County Bank; Deborah Ross, Grant Writer, Kids in Crisis; Alon Marom, Executive Director, Kids in Crisis.

SilverSource – $10,000
“Every day, we work to meet the challenges of older adults with individual care, integrity and respect they deserve.” Pictured (Left to Right): Camilo Duque, AVP, Branch Manager Stamford, First County Bank; Brian Brinkley, Medical Transportation, SilverSource; Kathleen Bordelon, Executive Director, SilverSource; Karen Kelly, SVP, Chief Digital Banking Officer, First County Bank

YWCA Greenwich – $2,500
“YWCA Greenwich is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and girls, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.” Pictured (Left to Right): Meredith Gold, Director of Domestic Abuse Service, YWCA Greenwich; Mary Lee Kieman, President & CEO, YWCA Greenwich; Jagjiwan Singh, AVP, Business Development Officer, First County Bank.

Featured Photo:

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First County Bank Profile

#FrontlineFridays

We have great employees here at First County Bank; from our CEO, to our tellers, to people in the back office, we all have a vested interest in you the customer. What makes First County Bank so unique is not only our interest in the customer, but our commitment to the community. Our frontline staff is out in the community every day from standing behind the counter to volunteering at various community events.

Over the next several weeks, we have the honor of profiling the great staff we have out on the “Frontlines” in a series dubbed, #FrontlineFridays. Be sure to check-in every week as your favorite branch or customer service representative may just be our weekly profile!

For more information on Branch hours, locations or directions or to locate the branch nearest you, click here.

Smart Savings Tips

6 Last-Minute Strategies to Pay for College

collegesavingsmonthBy now you have most likely settled into your semester at school. If you’re already worrying about the costs of next semester, here are six strategies to use, which are recommended by specializing in college admissions.

Contact your school’s financial aid office.
Call your school today to discuss your options with a financial aid officer who can lay out funding options or direct you to the school’s payment plan, if available.

“They want the student, they’re expecting the student, they have the deposit, they’re holding a dorm for them, so they have a huge incentive to work things out for the student,” says Donald Heller, provost and vice president of academic affairs at the University of San Francisco.

Submit a student-aid application.
If you haven’t already, fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, which is used by the federal government, states and schools to determine what kind of aid might be available to you. You should complete a FAFSA every year, as early in the year as possible to qualify for the most financial aid.

Since you’re submitting it close to the start of the fall classes, you may have missed out on certain grants, scholarships or need-based aid, but federal loan options are still available. The student aid award letter you receive from filing the FAFSA will detail what federal loans you may qualify for. The sooner you apply, the better the chances that you’ll receive any aid that’s left on the table. Let your school’s financial aid office know that you have submitted the FAFSA and keep in touch once your award letter arrives.

Appeal your financial aid offer.
If your family’s finances have taken a hit since you received a financial aid award, let your school know, since you could be eligible for more aid. Financial aid can be negotiable.

Find scholarships.
Look for scholarships with deadlines that haven’t passed, or ask the financial aid office if your school has scholarships that haven’t yet been awarded. Occasionally, a scholarship will remain open because an applicant has yet to meet the criteria, Heller says. You can find scholarships and deadlines at the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop scholarship finder.

Consider private student loans.
Federal subsidized and unsubsidized student loans come with borrower protections and income-driven repayment options that private loans don’t offer, so the federal options should be exhausted first.

Private loans usually require a co-signer and typically carry higher interest rates than federal subsidized loans, but the private-loan option may be necessary to close a funding gap. You can borrow private loans from banks, credit unions and online lenders. College admissions experts advise to borrow no more in student loans over the course of getting your degree than you anticipate making in your first year’s salary.

Plan long-term options

“Financial aid are presented as one-year deals, so students tend to think of them as one-year problems,” says Bart Grachan, interim associate dean for progress and completion at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, New York. “So if they have cobbled all kinds of resources — ‘I have this emergency funding, this local scholarship, grandma kicked in $2,000’ — they need to multiply out the next four years and ask themselves, is that sustainable?”

Anna Helhoski is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: anna@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @AnnaHelhoski

In Our Community

First County Bank Employees Donate School Supplies

This summer, First County Bank employees participated in the Human Services Council’s “Donate a Backpack for Family Day” program to provide students with backpacks and school supplies for the 2017-2018 school year. First County Bank employees donated over seven grocery bags of pens, pencils, crayons, rulers, calculators, highlighters, erasers and three large boxes filled with notebooks and binders to fill 102 backpacks. The backpacks and school supplies were distributed by the Human Services Council as part of their Family Day celebration.

First County Bank employees Rick Zaremski, Margaret Beck, Jeanne Aulicino, Patty Sweeney, Jack Dowling, Tiffani Valentin, Suzanne Dean, Romanita Cheverez, Sheila Content, Sandy Holbrook, Denise Conzo, Robert Granata, president and COO, Caroline Cardona, Sara Tucker, Nino Antonelli, Jennifer DaSilva and Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr., chairman and CEO, are pictured with donated backpacks filled with school supplies for the Human Services Council’s Family Day.

First County Bank employees Rick Zaremski, Margaret Beck, Jeanne Aulicino, Patty Sweeney, Jack Dowling, Tiffani Valentin, Suzanne Dean, Romanita Cheverez, Sheila Content, Sandy Holbrook, Denise Conzo, Robert Granata, president and COO, Caroline Cardona, Sara Tucker, Nino Antonelli, Jennifer DaSilva and Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr., chairman and CEO, are pictured with donated backpacks filled with school supplies for the Human Services Council’s Family Day.

Smart Savings Tips, Trends & Tips

September is College Savings Month

moneygradcap-icon

The month of September is often a turning point for many – we welcome back pumpkin-flavored coffee, a new season of sports and of course, a new academic year. Annually regarded as College Savings Month, we will be using September to offer the latest tips and trends on how you can save – whether it’s your first or last semester.

Saving while in college can be as simple as having the right account. At First County Bank, we offer a variety of savings accounts. FirstPrize $avings may be the perfect fit for a college student. The account encourages you to save, by entering each eligible deposit into a drawing for $1,000!* Not only will this account instill the valuable lesson of saving each month, it can reward you for your efforts!

Stay on the lookout for more college savings tips throughout the month of September! If you’re interested in learning more about the FirstPrize $avings account, click here.

 

* Refer to http://www.firstcountybank.com/savings-account-disclosure for account official rules and disclosure.